Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Zuma gets 12-year prison sentence

by Staff reporter
29 Nov 2023 at 11:27hrs | Views
The Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court has sentenced Mdumiseni Zuma to 12 years' imprisonment for instigating the July 2021 civil unrest following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma.

The 36-year-old father of three is the first of more than 60 so-called instigators to be convicted and sentenced for the deadly violence that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng.

More than 350 people died across provinces.

At least R50 billion in infrastructure damage was recorded and more than 150 000 thousand jobs were lost.

Zuma, who is not related to the former president, was arrested in August 2021.

Police investigations showed that he recorded a video of himself calling on people to loot and burn the Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg.

The video was shared on his WhatsApp status.

He claimed that he had made the video as a "drunk prank", but this was dismissed by the court during his conviction in September.  

On Wednesday, during sentencing, Magistrate Morné Cannon referred to the offence committed by Zuma as serious in nature.

Cannon said even though the State did not lead any evidence showing that Zuma had participated in the looting and arson attack on the mall, he had to be held accountable.

"Plainly put, the accused must be sentenced as though he personally set the Brookside Mall on fire," he said.

Cannon continued:

The accused's actions had far-reaching consequences. Not only was the Brookside Mall set alight, lives and livelihoods were lost.

The magistrate noted that evidence before court had shown that the Brookside Mall had suffered losses amounting to half a billion rand.

He said that Zuma's sentence was aimed at balancing public interest in the matter and deterring others from committing similar crimes.

Other instigator matters

At least 65 other alleged instigators are expected to make their first appearances in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban in January.

The matter was moved from the Durban Regional Court this month after the State added charges of terrorism and sedition against the accused.

Earlier this month, former radio personality Ngizwe Mchunu was acquitted on incitement charges linked to the unrest.

He had maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

Source - news24